Quick Hits: Green Chile Stew & The Kershaw Bareknuckle

Welcome to my test of the Kershaw Bareknuckle, or a thinly-veiled excuse to make stew. Green chile stew, in fact, one of the touchstones of my time in New Mexico. Now that I’m back in the Midwest, this spicy, meaty dish pairs perfectly with blustery winter nights. And what better way to try out the Bareknuckle than with an evening in the kitchen?

There are hundreds of ways to make green chile stew. I’ve assembled this recipe one batch at a time, stealing a piece here and a tip there from people who actually know what they’re doing. What I’ve come up with is a blend that meets my need for heat, while still providing a mild enough flavor to keep my wife from ordering takeout. Let’s see if the Bareknuckle is as happy in the kitchen as we are at the table.

JW’s Green Chile Stew

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Ingredients

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  • 1 LB. ground turkey
  • 1 LB. ground sausage
  • 3 garlic cloves finely chopped or pressed
  • 2 cups yellow onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 red potatoes, cubed
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 cup green chiles
  • 1 ¼ cups mild salsa verde
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 2 tbs. olive oil
  • 1/8 cup flour
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder, divided into ¼ tsp. portions
  • ½ tsp. onion powder, divided into ¼ tsp. portions
  • ½ tsp. cumin
  • ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp. paprika
  • ¾ tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. season salt, divided into ½ tsp. portions
  • 1 tsp. black pepper, divided into ½ tsp. portions
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 pinch dried thyme
  • 1 pinch white pepper
  • Diced red onion, cilantro, lime juice, and sour cream or Mexican crema for serving

Prep Work

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First, make sure your sausage and turkey are thawed. While you can cook them from frozen, it takes a lot more time and effort to chip away at icy logs of meat. Then, before putting anything over heat, chop your yellow onion and red bell pepper, setting aside in a small bowl. Add your peeled and finely chopped garlic cloves into the mix, or press them into the bowl using a garlic press. You can choose to cube the red potatoes now or while the stew is simmering, dividing them into ½-inch chunks. I prefer to leave the skin on, but peel them if you so desire.

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On the dry side, I like to mix all my spices into another small bowl. My kitchen is pretty small, so this keeps me from knocking over bottles as I rush to get everything into the pot. Reserve ½ tsp. each of the season salt and black pepper plus the ¼ tsp. each garlic and onion powder in a separate spot. Leave the flour and bay leaves on their own for now, as they’ll be added individually.

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It’s also helpful to have the 4 cups of chicken stock, 1 ½ cups water, 1 ¼ cups salsa verde, and 1 cup green chiles ready to go in measuring cups or containers. That way you’ll be ready at the critical moment of adding wet ingredients.

Let’s Cook!

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Add 2 tbs. olive oil to a large stock pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the ground turkey and sausage, breaking up and blending the two meats together with a wooden spoon or scraper. Season with the reserved ½ tsp. mix of season salt, black pepper, and the ¼ tsp. each of garlic powder, and onion powder and cook until about half-browned. Toss in the yellow onion, red pepper, and garlic, stirring to combine. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and allow the meat to cook through and the onions to turn clear, usually about five minutes. Stir semi-frequently so that nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot.

Once the meat and veggies have cooked, add the rest of your dry spice mix to the pot (excluding the flour and bay leaves). Stir to combine with the rest of the mixture, allowing the spices to heat up and release their flavors. After the smell becomes intoxicating (usually between one and two minutes), add the 1/8 cup of flour and stir. This will thicken the mixture and soak up the flavor of the meat. Stir frequently to prevent the newly sticky blend from adhering to the bottom of the pot.

After giving the flour a minute to shed its raw taste, add the 4 cups of chicken stock, 1 ½ cups water, 1 ¼ cups salsa verde, and 1 cup green chiles. Stir to combine, and drop in the three bay leaves. Bring the stew to a healthy simmer before covering and reducing the heat to medium-low. Allow it to cook for a half hour, periodically stirring and skimming the fat from the top of the mix.

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Now’s the time to dice those four red potatoes, if you haven’t done so already. I’ve found that ½-inch chunks work the best, especially with the skin left on. This simmering period also gives you a chance to finely chop the red onion and cilantro. Combine these in a Tupperware container with a small splash of lime juice, cover, and shake to combine. This adds an excellent zing of freshness to the meaty heat of the stew. I’ll let you determine your preferred measurements, but my general ratio matches one medium red onion with one small batch of cilantro.

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Once the half-hour simmer is complete, it’s time to add the potatoes. By this point, you’ll notice your significant other hanging around the kitchen asking how long until supper’s ready. Relax, darling – All it takes is another twelve to fifteen minutes for the potatoes to soften. Stir them into the stew, adding a bit more water if things look like they’re getting too thick. Bring the whole mix back to a healthy simmer. Cover and periodically stir until the potatoes achieve your desired level of softness. Remove the bay leaves, and you’re ready to go.

Ladle the green chile goodness into a bowl, garnishing with the onion-cilantro mix and a dollop of sour cream. A few warm tortillas or toasted slices of bread also make a nice addition to the dish.

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Spice and Storage

The recipe above will make a medium-spicy stew, suitable for those who enjoy a touch of heat in their food. The sour cream helps cut the heat, putting this at the top of my wife’s spice tolerance. If you’re looking to up the heat, adjust the ratio of green chile to salsa verde, or grab a medium bottle of the verde as opposed to mild. Keep in mind that, if the folks you’re serving don’t like sour cream, they’ll need to find another way to soften the spice.

As with most chilis and stews, these leftovers get better the next day. It goes great over eggs in the morning and will keep for the better part of a week in the refrigerator. This green chile stew also freezes exceptionally well. Allow it to thaw for a few hours before tossing it in a pot over low heat, periodically breaking the mass up with a spoon.

Final Thoughts

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After 1,000 words of recipe, I should probably return to the Kershaw Bareknuckle. My quick take is this – It’s a perfectly fine kitchen tool. The onions, bell pepper, and cilantro paired well with the belly of its blade, just as the stew works well with the belly of the cook. The knife’s nooks and crannies didn’t gum up from stray bits of food, and the edge was easy to clean. I like this knife a lot, and making one of my favorite meals proved to be an excellent test. Stay tuned for a full review over at GearJunkie.com.

Now, my thoughts are drifting to the fridge. I wonder if my wife would notice if I ate some of her leftover portion…

Where to Buy

Kershaw Bareknuckle: BladeHQ, KnifeCenter

Ingredients: Most of this stuff should be available at your local grocery store. Green chile can be the tricky one, but you can generally find it in cans or jars. It’s also found in the frozen food aisles of some establishments, so be sure to check next to the Mexican specialties. If all else fails, you can order it from my favorite provider here.

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